Melanie DeRousse serves as both a clinical associate professor and director of KU Law’s Douglas County Legal Aid Clinic. The clinic’s educational focus is to engage law students in real-world, client-centered practice where, under the guidance of supervising attorneys, they can develop their lawyering skills, substantive area expertise, and ability to engage in the critical self-reflection that will be essential to their development as ethical, diligent members of the profession. DeRousse’s responsibilities as director are to refine, develop and promote the clinic’s educational focus, to seek out funding and relationships that will assist in the clinic’s mission, and to teach student-attorneys the art of competent, client-centered lawyering with an emphasis on access to justice.
DeRousse’s scholarly interests focus on the intersection of state and family, particularly in the context of poverty, public health and child welfare. She draws upon her experience in practice as well as her work before law school implementing a diversion and rehabilitation program for pre-adjudicated juvenile status offenders in Florida and South Carolina. She is a graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she competed on the national trial advocacy team and participated in a top-ranked civil justice clinic. Before joining the KU Law faculty, DeRousse was an attorney at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Inc., where she focused her civil practice on the legal needs of survivors of intimate partner violence. DeRousse was a frequent presenter and panelist at Missouri Bar CLE programs and community education events. She also clerked for the Hon. Kathianne Knaup Crane at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. She joined the KU Law faculty in 2015.
- Advanced Legal Aid Clinic
- Family Law
- Legal Aid Clinic
Advanced Legal Aid Clinic, Family Law, Legal Aid Clinic
Domestic relations law, intimate partner violence, juvenile justice, rights of children and state regulation of the family
Selected Committee Work
- KU Law Academic Affairs Committee, Bar Prep/Curriculum Committee
- KU Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure Committee
- KU Faculty Senate
- Chair, Douglas County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board
- Member, Kansas Legal Services Board of Directors
- Member, Douglas County Bar Association
- Co-Chair, CLEA Best Practices in Pedagogy Committee, Board member, CLEA
Missouri 2007, Kansas 2015
J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law 2007; A.B., University of Chicago 1999
Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Legal Aid Clinic, University of Kansas School of Law, 2015-present; Attorney, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, 2008-2014; Judicial Clerk to Kathianne Knaup Crane, Missouri Court of Appeals, 2007-2008.
American Bar Association, Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Clinical Legal Education, Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA), Kansas Bar Association, Missouri Bar, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Society of American Law Teachers